The Breast Advocate App: A Review from a Patient Advocate

Breast Advocate is an app for any woman or man affected by breast cancer, or at high risk of developing breast cancer. I write this review as a patient advocate and two-time breast cancer survivor.I have been an educator my entire professional life. I combine my training as an educator with my current role as a patient advocate providing information and resources about breast reconstruction options after a mastectomy. The term patient advocate has a broad definition, so I want to be clear why I am reviewing this app.Patient advocates work in communities specific to their expertise. Like educators, patient advocates inform their community, empowering them with information to improve their situations.I highly endorse the Breast Advocate app. I encourage everyone in the breast cancer community to download whenever I can. It is an incredibly powerful tool to have available right there in the palm of your hand.Why? Our phones may be one of the most common tools we utilize to find information we need in our daily lives. Breast Advocate provides evidence-based, customized treatment recommendations based on your individual situation and preferences. This app empowers you with the information you need to participate fully in conversations with your healthcare team about your treatment options. Breast Advocate gives you ownership in the decision, giving you the tools to have the discussion, and gives validity to your voice.The app is packed with comprehensive content including articles, infographics and videos from leading breast cancer experts. At the top of the dashboard you’ll find 4 buttons that provide quick access to the features of the app you’ll use the most: The Wizards, Treatment Options, Favorites, and Community.

The Wizard section is the really clever part of the app. Wizards help you work out the best treatment plan for you based on your situation and personal preferences. There are several Wizards to choose from.

Click on the Wizard(s) that apply to you and after answering a handful of easy questions, you’ll get personalized treatment recommendations to discuss with your doctor.

Not ready to answer questions just yet? No problem… The Treatment Options section breaks down all your options into very simple categories based on your situation.

What strikes me most about the app is the way in which the information is organized. It’s far more intuitive than the usual sources of medical information. You don’t need to know what you’re looking for to research your options…you just need to identify your situation and follow cues that speak to your preferences.You can find answers to questions like:· Should I have lumpectomy or mastectomy?· Should I get genetic testing?· Should I remain flat after mastectomy or have breast reconstruction?· Are there surgical options to improve lymphedema?· What are my options for breast reconstruction, and can I use my own tissue?Maybe you’d like to find out about:· Evidence-based resources and studies on a particular topic related to breast cancer.· What aesthetic outcome to expect after a particular breast surgery.· What others in similar situations to yourself are considering via Breast Advocate’s Community feature.This is a small sampling of the plethora of information available on Breast Advocate. Why is this such a powerful tool? Because it gives you a voice in your decisions to move forward with your breast cancer care. How many times have you been to a healthcare provider during your breast cancer treatment and have felt like you don’t even know what to ask or where to find information specific to your diagnosis or situation? The Breast Advocate App will give you this information whether it is your breast surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, physical therapist, or plastic surgeon. Shared decision making is an extremely powerful approach to deciding our treatment plans. Simply put, it empowers us and helps us advocate for ourselves. As patients, we owe it to ourselves to embrace it in everyday conversations with our health care teams. As a patient advocate and long-time educator, I encourage you, download the Breast Advocate app, and start the power of shared decision making in the palm of your hand.Educators impart knowledge. Great educators communicate the value and worth of knowledge for the benefit to their community. ~ Terri Coutee

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